Archive for September, 2011

Sep/29/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Liberation

The Evolution of Revolution

The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do

when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become

more fundamentalist and try to hold things together or you’re

going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an

experiment, making it up as you go along.

-Pema Chödrön

I’m blown away by #occupywallstreet.  And I am thrilled by the conversation it has unleashed – sometimes amused, sometimes frustrated and often moved.  I’ll be at Liberty Plaza this Friday.

I’m appreciating the political discussion, the strategic questions, the desire for racial inclusion in this emergent process.  However this turns out, it is way bigger than a protest.  Something is changing, Kevin Kelly points to it: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/29/11//Curtis Ogden//Networks

Tips for Encouraging Self-Organization

Building on yesterday’s post of the video about sociocracy, and inspired by the work of John Buck and Sharon Villines that I mentioned there, I’ve been pulling together a list of ways that leaders at all levels in organizations and networks might encourage more collective self-organizing, self-correcting, resilient and adaptive behavior.  Here’s a start and I invite readers to please add: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/28/11//Curtis Ogden//Learning Edge

Dynamic Governance

Given my interest in living systems theory and practice, I’ve been very excited to learn more recently about sociocracy.  I was tipped off by Beth Tener of New Direction Collaborative who passed along a book suggestion in We the People: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy by John Buck and Sharon Villines, which serves as a guide to sociocratic principles and methods.  A unique method of governance, sociocracy applies scientific understandings of how the world works through open systems thinking and complexity to creating more self-organizing, self-correcting, inclusive and efficient organizations.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/27/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Inspiration

Remembering Wangari Maathai- Twice in a lifetime

By now you have heard that Wangari Maathai has died. I feel especially blessed to have met this remarkable woman before and after she became known on the world stage.

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Sep/26/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured

Troy Davis-NYC

I apologize to the passionate and brilliant Hena Ashraf for failing to link this post to her blog.  My friend Saulo Colon shared her story with me and I wrongly assumed he had written it.

I woke up today as I’m sure many of you did thinking of how I get to wake up today, and Troy Davis doesn’t. I thought about how this country kills innocent people abroad and at home. And I felt immense frustration at the recent news of how much the NYPD targets and monitors the Muslim community. I went to the Troy Davis rally that took place last night at Union Square at 5pm.

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Sep/23/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Be Indispensable

“Making our world fit for our children and grandchildren is a task for marathoners – not sprinters. It is a complex and long-term struggle that must be pursued with both urgency and persistence. The playwright Bertold Brecht said: ‘There are those who struggle for a day and they are good. There are those who struggle for a year and they are better. There are those who struggle many years, and they are better still. But there are those who struggle all their lives: These are the indispensable ones.’ Be an indispensable one for our children’s and our world’s sake.”

-Marion Wright Edelman

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Sep/22/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

The System Is Us

“If you don’t see your role in contributing to the problem, then you can’t be part of the solution.”

-David Stroh

David M. Nee, Executive Director, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund from Graustein Memorial Fund on Vimeo.

Yesterday I gave a general update on the proceedings of the Right from the Start early childhood development system change effort in Connecticut. Today I want to lift up some of the insights and wisdom that have been unearthed by the System Analysis phase. Key to this work has been the engagement of two experts in the realm of systems thinking – David Stroh of Bridgeway Partners and Keith Lawrence of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable for Community Change.

David brings particular skill and experience in teaching about and mapping systemic dynamics as they play out at different levels.  In June, he gave a wonderful overview of systems thinking to the System Design Team, which included an introduction to the iceberg diagram (see below) that helps people get from more superficial and tactical questions to deeper systemic points of leverage, including awareness of one’s own unwitting contribution to dynamics that yield outcomes that are undesirable or in some sense not optimal.  Part of the shift we experienced over the course of these conversations was the understanding that “the system” is not out there, but as Yaneer Bar-Yam says, is “the way we work together.”  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/21/11//Curtis Ogden//IISC:Outside

Right from the Start

“In a sense, it’s not a system until it’s working for the people on the front-line, and above all the parents who need services for their children.”

-David Nee, Executive Director, WCGMF

Last November I blogged about the launch of a bold and exciting initiative in Connecticut, spear-headed by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund based in Hamden.  My colleague Melinda Weekes and I were engaged to assist the Memorial Fund as it answered a community-based call to step into a convening role to bring relevant stakeholders together from around the state to re-imagine and build an early childhood system “that is accessible and effective in all settings and in all communities for Connecticut’s children and families regardless of race, abilities and income.” This initiative has since been dubbed Right from the Start, a name that has turned out to be quite prescient in light of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s recent comments.  Right from the Start builds upon 10 years of work by the Memorial Fund in supporting community-based efforts to promote development and learning for all children.  Melinda and I are proud to have been able to make a contribution over the past four years by providing Facilitative Leadership training and collaborative capacity building to more than 200 individuals from the 57 Discovery Collaboratives around the state. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/20/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Liberation

Occupy Wall Street

Photo By: Procrastinations

I spend a lot of my time plotting the next revolution.  Considering what it will take to usher forth the next movement.  Preparing myself to participate.  Sifting through the preconceptions of what movement has to look like.  Calling forth the evolution of revolution itself.  Instigating, prodding, inviting, conspiring, hoping.

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Sep/19/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Power, Equity, Inclusion

What/who did you say you are?

A few weeks ago, in a post called Who do we think we are?, Curtis Ogden, retold the story of a Native American  elder. At the start of a meeting about ecology with non-Native physicists, she concluded her introduction by saying “This is who I am. The features of the land determine my conduct, responsibility, and ethics. Now I want to know to whom I am talking, before I say anything else of substance.” This gave rise to Curtis’ question “What do we lift up as markers of our identity?” The ensuing rich discussion focused on the links between our identities and the land.

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Sep/16/11//IISC//Featured, Inspiration

Jhumpa Lahiri

Indian American author. Lahiri’s debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and her first novel, The Namesake (2003), was adapted into the popular film of the same name.  Lahiri is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

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Sep/15/11//Curtis Ogden//Inspiration

Reside in Hope

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.”

― Barbara Kingsolver

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Sep/14/11//Curtis Ogden//Sustainability

Choosing Reality

A mentor of mine says that one of the most important disciplines we can individually and collectively engage in is to repeatedly ask and attempt to answer the question, “Where am I/we now?”  This is something of a daunting task when it comes to our global climate, and yet embracing this current reality is key to creating the future we would want to see inherited by generations to come.  In this spirit, we are all invited to join The Climate Reality Project to hear more of the truth about climate change from those who are experiencing its impacts around the world, and watch the live stream here starting at 7pm CT today (September 14).

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Sep/13/11//Gibrán Rivera//Inspiration

What’s Your Adjacent Possible?

Steven Johnson, author of books like Emergence and Where Good Ideas Come From, just introduced me to the concept of “adjacent possible” (he in turn credits scientist Stuart Kauffman).  I thought it a perfect compliment to my post on reclaiming the impossible.

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Sep/12/11//Cynthia Silva Parker//Your Experiences

Remembering 911—Lessons Unlearned

I spent last week alternately avoiding and arguing out loud with the wall-to-wall media coverage of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. I started to hear—mostly through the silences and omissions—many lessons that seem still to be unlearned.

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Sep/09/11//IISC//Featured, Inspiration

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks was the first African American to win the Pulitzer prize for poetry following the release of her second book. She went on to publish over twenty texts and became well known in her home state, Illinois, and across the country for her outstanding contribution to American literature.

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Sep/08/11//Curtis Ogden//Collaboration

Collaboration for Life

My wife and I have been enjoying spending some of our evenings reading to one another from Julia Whitty’s book Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean.  Whitty, a scientist, documentary filmmaker and correspondent, writes about her years of exploration and discovery of the World Ocean, the three dimensional current circling the globe that profoundly controls the planet’s climate and has a tremendous impact on all life.   In one chapter, Whitty references the Census of Marine Life, an amazing 10 year collaboration of over 2,700 scientists from more than 80 nations to assess the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life.

As awe-inspiring as the undertaking itself has been, the results are simply mind-blowing and speak to the insights and intelligence available through thoughtful collaboration, including a deepening understanding of our own place in the larger scheme and a nudge to get us off center stage.  Here is how Whitty captures some of it: Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/07/11//Curtis Ogden//Your Experiences

Rising Waters

“Rain does not fall on one roof alone.”

Proverb from Cameroon

Labor Day weekend took on a new twist this year in the state of Vermont where people came together to clean up, comfort one another, and rebuild after Tropical Storm Irene’s devastation. I was visiting my in-laws in Chester, VT when the storm hit last Sunday. Chester, as it turned out, made national headlines as a few local residents’ homes were swept away.  This is how The New York Times painted the scene the day after: “With roughly 250 roads and several bridges closed off, many residents remained stranded in their neighborhoods; others could not get to grocery stores, hospitals or work.”  Other parts of the state suffered as well, including Waterbury, where state offices were washed out, even forcing the state’s Emergency Management command post to evacuate.  Three people are known to have lost their lives as a result of the storm.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Sep/06/11//Gibrán Rivera//Featured, Learning Edge

Reclaim the Impossible

Today I’ll once again have to turn to Kevin Kelly, our contemporary sage of the technium.  His recent blog post “Why the Impossible Happens More Often” is a must read and it is extensively quoted below.  For a long time I have been trying to make the point that what is happening in the web is not just about social media and new technology – it is about us, and how we are with each other.

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Stand For Children

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